Q. What are the ways to lighten skin color and reduce facial acne?

Answered by
Dr. Sandhya Narayanan Kutty
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Nov 01, 2022 and last reviewed on: Nov 15, 2022

Hello doctor,

I want to lighten my skin color and reduce my facial acne. I used cream Epiduo for acne in the past. Currently, I am taking 1000 mg of Vitamin C and 1000 mg Glutathione. Are there any vitamins and topical creams that I could use?

Please suggest.



Welcome to

I understand your concern.

You have acne vulgaris, also called acne, that occurs due to multiple factors like genetic susceptibility in case of family members or parents having had a history of acne in the past, climatic factors, dietary factors, hormonal imbalances, especially in case of gynecological conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), fluctuations in androgen hormones, history of using skin products, or due to an underlying medical condition and consumption of medications for the same which may trigger acne formation due to changes in sebum production and oily skin.

Facial skin tone may be altered and made brighter with the help of medications. However, procedures coupled with medications provide the best benefit. Glutathione is very helpful in brightening skin tone and benefits when used for at least a year. Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid augments its effect in causing a better skin tone and texture.

I suggest the below treatment plan:

  • CeraVe Salicylic acid cleansers may be used to cleanse the face twice daily. Apply, massage in gentle circular motions, and wash off within one minute. They help get rid of sebum secretion and manage acne due to Salicylic Acid. They also help with skin rejuvenation and brighten skin tone to a certain degree.
  • Peroclin 2.5 % gel (Benzoyl Peroxide and Clindamycin) to be used daily on the active acne in the morning as a spot treatment. They may be continued for four to six months.
  • Epiduo cream (Adapalene and Benzoyl Peroxide) can be replaced with Aziderm cream (Azelaic Acid). Aziderm, 10 % cream, may be applied in a very thin layer on the affected area on alternate days only at night. Make sure your face is cleansed and dried well. Your hands and face should be absolutely dry without any moisture. Apply the cream in a pea-sized quantity only on the affected areas in a very thin layer. Please do not use it all over the face; do not use it in large quantities since the medication is strong and may cause irritation. It helps with acne and hyperpigmentation as well. However, it may be used only in cases of moderate to severe forms of acne.
  • Procedures like Glycolic Acid chemical peels for facial skin can be done once every 14 days to help reduce the appearance of acne and hyperpigmentation, thereby helping with skin tone brightening as well to a certain degree.
  • Laser techniques, like Erbium and Q switch lasers, can be done every three weeks. However, they may be relatively expensive.
  • For skin brightening, a better option would be an injection of Glutathione. It is injected by IV twice a week as a slow injection after mixing with sterile water using a small butterfly cannula. It may also be given via IV drips once every 14 days. Usually, while undergoing IV Glutathione treatments, at least ten sessions are advised, and it is also advised to make sure to avoid sun exposure as skin tends to be photosensitive. Before the procedure, in most cases, blood tests may be adviced to rule out any underlying medical conditions. Before the procedure, it is also advised to cease the usage of Glutathione tablets as they may lead to overdose but may be started after the course of the procedure is complete to act as a maintenance therapy. They help with brightening skin tone for a few years, following which, depending on how we maintain our skin, they may be injected again in a similar manner for re-brightening.

The above procedures are done at a dermatologist's clinic. Therefore I would like to advise you to consult a dermatologist for the cost details and for undergoing the procedure. These procedures are only recommended for individuals who are above 18 years. Also, I suggest you avoid oily and fried foods, red meat, dairy, and sweets. Make sure to include fruits, vegetables, and fiber in your diet. They help reduce the formation of acne. Consume at least 12 glasses (250 ml standard glass size) of water daily.

Due to the absence of details regarding gender in the history, I request you to consult a gynecologist to rule out PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) in case you are a female. Acne may occur on and off depending on the above factors; however, it may be managed with medications and procedures. Acne may take time to reduce, and therefore, consistency is the key.

I hope the details are informative and provided clarity.

Stay happy, healthy, and safe.

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